Unlimited Yoga for One Year! $20!!!

Via Hannah Siegle
on Nov 23, 2011
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Look familiar?  Sound too good to be true?  It isn’t.

You probably get similar offerings in your inbox almost everyday from the likes of Groupon, Living Social or any of the plethora of discount networks that exist out there for small businesses. After the initial excitement of these deals wore off something about the sheer abundance of them started to rub me the wrong way and after receiving a small blurb about this in a newsletter from  I really started to think more deeply on the issue.

Are these deals hurting the yoga business world and community?

Does this cheapen what we are worth as instructors and get people used to a norm of cheap yoga? Yoga is an art form, a mind-body practice that greatly differs from just another fitness class and should be priced accordingly. The struggle already exists to get yoga recognized in this manner, and I can’t help but think that the proliferation of these deals is in the long run worsening the problem.

Perhaps they are a good way to get people in the door. A fast and effective way to say “Here I am!” but after this initial fanfare does it stick? Do the people keep coming back or do they just move to the next amazing offer? Maybe it would be a good way to offer introductory and limited packages? If someone is already coming to the studio they don’t need two months of classes to find out if they like it and the longer someone is on one of these deals the longer the studio isn’t making any income from them and operating in the negative. Again many yoga centers already struggle to turn a profit! While it would be nice to live in a world where we could offer yoga at no charge for many of us the reality is that it is our livelihood and a business.

I discussed this issue among my yoga kula and one friend offered this very good food for thought:

Like everything I think we need to reflect on what would be good for not only the business but also for the customer/client and the community. If the person buys this “deal” only to find out that” hot” yoga is like exercising in hell – that will turn them off from not only hot yoga but potentially for all yoga – what a loss that would be! I wonder if this would really align with the yamas (ahimsa, satya and aparigraha).

What is your take on this issue? Help, hindrance or something else?



About Hannah Siegle

Hannah Siegle began to do yoga four years ago initially for the physical practice, however she quickly discovered that the yoga began to do her in ways she never anticipated. The mind, body and spiritual connection that yoga cultivates has helped Hannah through the ups and downs of life, both large and small. She regularly blogs at Balancing on Two Feet on topics such as yoga, mindfulness, eating disorder recovery and all those things people don't like to talk about. She was trained at the RYT 200 through Laurel Hodory and is currently working towards becoming a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapist. She teaches yoga throughout Central Ohio with GoYoga ,yogaServe, and also works as an Assistant Editor for the elephant journal!


17 Responses to “Unlimited Yoga for One Year! $20!!!”

  1. Linda-Sama says:

    yes, I do believe it devalues yoga teaching.

    my husband returned from a music fest where he took a "how to book yourself" workshop. the musicians teaching it said exactly the same thing: never give it away because you are only devaluing what you do. making music is also a business and so is yoga. there is a time and place for giving it away.

    my massage therapist told me he would never participate in Groupon or any of those coupon deals because for the most part, people don't come back, they only want the deal. AND the participant only gets half of the amount of the coupon: if he gives away a $100 massage for $50, Groupon (and I am sure the other ones work the same way) gives him $25. so two months of yoga for $40? how much does the studio owner get, $1/class? and how much does the teacher make? I taught at a studio where the owner gave an intro yoga away for $5 class and she would not pay the teacher for teaching if the student used a coupon. Some months I gave away $100 because I had so many freebies in my class.

    Ask me why I don't teach in studios anymore.

  2. Tanya Lee Markul says:

    Hi Hannah – great discussion! I tend to feel it's up to the studio/yoga teacher in terms of what they feel is right for them. I also feel it is the same for the practitioner – going with what feels right.

    You bet that I'd take advantage of a special deal at my favourite Ashtanga studio here in town – I wouldn't think twice about it. :-) I also offer a weekly friends & family rate – which is virtually NOTHING compared to what the average price is for a yoga class. I don't feel I'm devaluing anything, but perhaps giving people I know and love (who wouldn't normally do yoga) the motivation to give it a try without 'losing' much.

    I've also gone in the other direction though – I've paid A LOT of money for workshops that I have personally felt were perhaps a bit too expensive given the substance taught. I've even been asked to pay additional amounts on top of the high prices to pay for teacher's currency conversion fees – whaaaat?!

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  3. Louise Brooks says:

    The yoga studios know what they are doing when they enter into a Groupon type promo, they're a business first and foremost. Let's be honest, the average price of a yoga class at a studio is outrageous. I work in a university and have talked to several students who love practicing yoga but gave up their memberships due to the costs. Yoga is quickly out-pricing itself from all but upper middle-class people (and upwards).

  4. […] Unlimited Yoga for One Year! $20!!! […]

  5. Valerie Carruthers says:

    When you factor in the overhead of running a studio, rent/utilities/insurance/base pay to instructors PLUS the owner's investment in their original teacher training and continuing education, very often they cannot even pay themselves a modest salary—it's all labor (of love for Yoga) intensive. Now add in promotion such as Groupon and one-month specials. How can they even keep the door open? OK, a lot of studios do make their bread and butter via teacher trainings, celebrity teacher workshops, etc. but not every studio is equipped to do that in the early stages.

    A large part of situation is the competition from fitness clubs, with low monthly fees where Yoga (including hot Vinyasa) is included at no extra charge, along with child care in some instances. Senior age students over 65 usually don't have to pay anything if they come in under Silver Sneakers.

    Rather than try to pit themselves against gyms, studios need to focus on their uniqueness, their special niche, the value added of a supportive atmosphere in which to grow your practice. Holiday specials, sure. But if ongoing coupons and other "deals" only create a deficit in their bank accounts and devalue their social purpose then what is the point. Mixed-level classes notwithstanding, for studios to stay solvent they may have to face the fact that they cannot be all things to all customers. That is why conscious studios offer weekly "community" classes on a by-donation basis—as a way of giving back.

  6. catnipkiss says:

    I have not seen the Groupon deals, but I admit to being a bit of a "yoga slut" at times: I want to try them all! Especially now when I am unemployed and wanting to do steady yoga, I am searching constantly for the deals and trial offers. But I am a person who will eventually commit, and this yoga-ing around is showing me that there are options out there and giving me a wide variety to try out before I settle for my one-and-only.

    Alexa Maxwell

  7. Rachel says:

    As a graduate school student these deals are amazing for me. I just can't spend $150 a month on yoga, so I need a little break here and there. I bought a deal like this and then negotiated a price I could handle with the studio and have stayed there! I think the more people who are exposed to yoga the better. If money is a barrier than we need to remove that barrier so there is greater exposure.

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